Map Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 1902 – Just Another Day With Radicalized Republicans

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1902

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1902. Even on the larger image it is difficult to see, but the map legend highlights points of interests such as the post office, Fort Pitt blockhouse, the courthouse, and the Frick, Carnegie, and Park buildings and railroad stations. These old street view maps are usable. If you were in Pittsburgh in 1902 you could find your way around well enough to the major points of the city. Though they really shine as artistic renderings of the city.

President Obama is cutting his holiday vacation short to head back to Washington in hopes of working out a budget deal. Though I wish he wouldn’t it is the smart move to make politically. Unless one lives in the reality challenged world of Fox New’s hack Steve Doocy – who claimed that Obama never really cared about making a compromise deal. This attempt at compromise is just a lot of wasted jet fuel. As Steve Benen explains,

As of Friday, it sounded like Obama had all but given up on those ambitions, and is now eyeing a much smaller agreement.

To be sure, I suspect the president would still prefer a larger deal, such as the one Boehner abandoned a week ago, but last week helped reinforce a couple of important realizations. The first is that Boehner is a weak leader of a radicalized, directionless caucus. The second is that Republicans are so loath to compromise, a meaningful, bipartisan agreement with concessions from both sides is clearly impossible.

And with that in mind, Friday’s comments pointed to what might be called Plan C — lower rates on income up to $250,000, extended jobless aid, a cancellation of the sequester (or more likely, a postponement), and some kind of blueprint for additional action sometime in 2013.

It has always been the aim of that deeply radical and contarian caucus to not agree to anything that President Obama might sign. This is the important aspect of these budget talks for the public to keep in mind as many cross their fingers hoping for an agreement. There was never going to be one if conservatives could help it. If President Obama hand even started near what conservatives wanted they would have demanded even bigger tax and spending cuts. They were always Lucy with the football and Democrats were always Charlie Brown.

There is a video of American history expert Sarah Palin gloating at this link. Conservatives are however inadvertently, at least entertaining sometimes, Fox’s Self-Congratulation Over Benghazi Report Undermined By Report Itself

Fox News figures have tried to use an investigative panel’s recent report on the Benghazi attack to congratulate their network on its coverage of the attack. But the report actually debunks several incorrect and misleading narratives Fox pushed about Benghazi.

[  ]…But the report determined there was “no evidence of any undue delays in decision making or denial of support from Washington or from the military combatant commanders,” and continued, “Quite the contrary: the safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack … was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded Americans.”

Fox also hyped its “exclusive” report that requests for military back-up during the attack were twice denied “by the CIA chain of command” — even though the CIA called Fox’s claims “inaccurate” at the time. But as The Huffington Post pointed out, the Benghazi report debunks that claim. Quoting from the report, Huffington Post wrote, “[A] ‘team leader’ at the annex had ‘decided on his own’ to delay leaving the facility briefly to see if local security elements would arrive with reinforcements. After ‘a brief delay,’ and determining that they would not, the team leader made the decision to move some units toward the compound, the report said.”

Should one decide to venture into the freaky world of conservative spin on Fox news or conservative web sites you’ll find that they were correct about Benghazi and about Fast and Furious ( even though they failed to acknowledge that much of that scandal came down to one agent – A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.) This two supposed scandals are good reasons on theory own to never sign up for that nebulous land of the sensible centrist preached from the Beltway and NYT neanderthals like Thomas Friedman. You cannot reach compromises with the morbidly unhinged.

Well, that problem is solved, After Newtown, Sales Boom for Kids’ Body Armor

Six months ago, Amendment II introduced a new line of backpacks, built with the company’s signature carbon nanotube armor, designed to keep kids safe in the event of school shootings. Since Friday’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, sales have gone through the roof. “I can’t go into exact sales numbers, but basically we tripled our sales volume of backpacks that we typically do in a month—in one week,” Williams says.

One can hardly blame parents for trying to do something. While, who knows they just might save a few lives, one of the guns the Newtown murderer had was a Sig Sauer semi-automatic. Watch this video of rapid fire practice with a Sig. That is putting a lot of faith in backpack to think it will protect someone with a similar gun. And remember Wayne LaPierre and the NRA blaming everything, including video games Newtown, How The Gun Industry Profits From Violent Video Games

In a controversial diatribe on Friday, Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, blamed lax security, natural disasters, and, most of all, violent video games for the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT that claimed 27 lives. Despite the NRA’s public condemnation of violent entertainment, the New York Times explains, the gun industry is closely entwined with the gaming industry.

In one recent example of this relationship, the gaming company behind the Medal of Honor series launched a promotional website with links to the catalogs of two major gun manufacturers:

Links on the Medal of Honor site allowed visitors to click through on the Web sites of the game’s partners and peruse their catalogs.

“It was almost like a virtual showroom for guns,” said Ryan Smith, who contributes to the Gameological Society, an online gaming magazine. After Mr. Smith and other gaming enthusiasts criticized the site, Electronic Arts disabled the links, saying it had been unaware of them.

Gun manufacturers also grant video game companies licenses to depict real makes and models of weapons. Though these games are now taking heat from the gun lobby for encouraging violent behavior, they continue to serve as a valuable marketing tool for the industry.

I would still make the distinction that these games encourage people to buy guns – look how much fun it is to blow things away – but they don’t necessarily push people to the point of committing mass murder. According to this site, Medal of Honor has sold 1.2 million copies in North America ( Canada, USA, Mexico). Some studies have shown a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior in teens if played over a long period, but others have shown that the link is not that simple – they can in some circumstances increase cooperation ( which is probably why the military uses them). And there is that Harvard study that shows that the more guns that are around the greater the chances someone will use one to commit a crime.

And finnaly for today, when conservatives bully and eat their own, FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard

The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.

Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

Kind of obvious but Krugman still beat me to it, Protecting Freedom(Works)

The problem, clearly, is that despite its Tea Party status, FreedomWorks had failed to implement the security measures libertarians have been recommending for schools. If only the staff had been carrying concealed weapons, and those not armed had been trained to launch human wave attacks on gunmen, none of this would have happened, right?

Isn’t that what real Amerikcans do, shoot it out. Last man standing is the winner.

Green Scottish Hills wallpaper – No Deals on Fiscal Cliff, Wait Until January Mr President

Green Scottish Hills wallpaper

Green Scottish Hills wallpaper


Gun related issues aside this week has been largely about learning a new term, at least for non-wonks. President Obama is taking a lot of heat for, in the words of some Democratic analysts, willingness to cut Social Security benefits. there is some honest disagreement on whether or not that is truly the case. What he has offered to do is connect future increases in Social Security benefits to ‘chained CPI‘.

Making such a change also means paying out less in Social Security benefits over time — something liberal Democrats can’t stomach. Imagine, for example, a person born in 1935 who retired to full benefits at age 65 in 2000. People in that position had an average initial monthly benefit of $1,435, or $17,220 a year, according to the Social Security Administration. Under the cost-of-living-adjustment formula and 2012 inflation, that benefit would be up to $1,986 a month in 2013, or $23,832 a year. But if payouts were adjusted using chained CPI, the sum would be around $1,880 a month, or $22,560 a year — a cut of more than 5 percent and more as the years go by.

As for taxes, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has calculated that most Americans would pay a little more than $100 more per year. Families making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year would see the biggest increases — almost six times that faced by millionaires — but that’s because upper-income Americans are already in the top bracket and not being pushed into higher marginal rates because of changing bracket thresholds.

All told, chained CPI would lead to a larger across-the-board cut in Social Security benefits and a 0.19 percent income surtax, according to experts.

This makes for an odd situation since some of the more respected Democratic leaning wonks like the economists at American Progress and at the CBPP do not think chained CPI is bad if implemented correctly. That said Robert Kuttner, a very good economics analysts thinks chained CPI is a bad deal and does not hold back, Social Security and the Obama Cave-In. CBPP might be correct and then only if Congress incorporates this very precise language – a good piece here on all the tiny pieces that would have to work together to make a deal invlving the CPI to be less painful to those who can least afford it – The progressive case for the chained CPI . Knowing Republicans they are not likely to agree to anything that will benefit low to average income seniors, you know, because they have no “skin” in the game. So that makes two hurdles. The most important aspect of it is that a deal that includes chained CPi just isn’t necessary. I suspect, given Obama’s history of having a deep affinity for reaching out, that he has offered this part of the deal so that Republicans can save face. Boehner is particular can say see, we got some cuts in those gov’mint hand-outs to all those lazy leeching seniors. 8 Deficit Reducers That Are More Ethical—And More Effective—Than the ‘Chained CPI’

Independent estimates say that the “chained CPI” will slash Social Security benefits by $122 billion over the next ten years. Here are eight solutions that will save more money—and really will reduce the deficit—without compromising either our ethics or our sense of fairness:

1. Close multiple loopholes in the capital gains law: $174.2 billion. (1.42x)

Lawmakers could save nearly one and a half times as much money as they’ll get from stripping seniors, the disabled, veterans, and children of their benefits—1.42 times as much, to be precise—by closing capital gains loopholes.

They include the “carried interest” loophole, which taxes hedge fund managers’ service fees at the low “investors’” rate; the ‘blended rate,’ which taxes some quick derivatives trades as if they were long-term investments; the ability to ‘gift’ capital gains to avoid taxation; a dodge for bartering capital gains; and the ability to ‘defer’ gains to future years.

Conservatives, including Mitt Romney during his campaign, claimed they would raise revenues by closing loopholes in the tax code. here is another chance to embarrass them. They will not agree to cuts  to the capital gains nanny state. These are people who make money off the work of others. If they were all kidnapped by Martians tomorrow we’d all be better off.

2. Refuse to compromise on the President’s $250,000 figure for increased taxation: $183 billion ( these figures are new revenue) (1.5x)

[  ]…3. Reduce the budget for US overseas military bases by 20 percent: $200 billion. (1.6x)

The United States maintains 702 military ‘installations’ in 63 foreign countries (it has 4,471 bases altogether), according to the Defense Department’s annual budget statement.

4. Allow the government to negotiate with drug companies: $220 billion. (1.8x)

Current law specifically forbids the government from using its negotiating power to obtain lower rates for Medicare prescriptions—even though much of the research behind the drugs involved was performed at government expense.

6. Enact Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s ‘Fairness in Taxation Act’ for very high earners: $872.5 billion. (7.15x)

7. Eliminate corporate tax loopholes: $1.24 trillion (10x)

8. Create a financial transactions tax for high-volume Wall Street trading: $1.8 trillion (14.75x)

And here’s our grand prize winner: A financial transaction tax like the one they’ve imposed in the United Kingdom. The UK tax rate is tiny—0.25 percent of each transaction, levied on both parties—but the overall impact is substantial.

Not only would this tax bring in substantial revenue, it would also discourage the massive volume of ultra-high-speed computer-driven transactions that have turned the stock market into both an imperceptible ‘black box’ and a real-time mega-casino operating in nanoseconds.

This new sources of revenue would be painless. Billionaires will not stop investing. No millionaires will be suddenly forced to go dumpster diving. America will not rot in the bowels of Marxist hell. But millions of Americans who have worked hard all their lives and deserve a decent standard of living will not have to sacrifice anymore than they do already. Democrats should fight for the above and wait until January, House Republicans Again Show Why We Need to Wait Until January for a Deal. As usual the very serious people are acting like mindless zombie clowns.

When it comes to economic issues conservatives call upon some clown like Arthur Laffer. When the focus is on issues related to gun violence they turn to a clown named John Lott. Why is the discredited John Lott used as an authoritative source on gun violence?

After Mass Shooting In Aurora, Lott Denied The Fact That America Has The Highest Rate Of Gun Deaths In The Civilized World. Appearing on CNN in the wake of the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, CO, Lott rejected host Piers Morgan’s assertion that “America has the worst incidents of gun murders of any of what they call the civilized world.” Lott told Morgan that “factually, it’s not true.” In reality, a 2003 Harvard School of Public Health study revealed that the firearm homicide rate in the United States is 19.5 times higher than the average rate found in other high-income nations. [CNN, Piers Morgan Tonight, 7/24/12, via Media Matters]

If he cannot, or more likely, will not, get such a basic fact correct, that says a lot about the rest of his “research”. And remember conservatives are not freaking out over some proposal to ban guns – though that myth has been on conservative web sites for years. Most of the proposals are about sensible restrictions on certain types of guns and the size of ammo magazines.

A conservative web site called P.J. Tatler is outraged, Disgraceful: Obama Invokes Newtown Massacre to Pressure Republicans to Go Along with His Tax Hikes

During his press conference today, called to announce his new gun control task force, President Obama invoked the Newtown massacre to apply pressure on congressional Republicans in the fiscal cliff standoff.

OBAMA: If this past week has done anything it should give us some perspective. I-I-I-If there’s one thing we should have, after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what’s important. And I would like to think that members of that caucus would say to themselves “You know what, I disagree with the president on some things. We wish the other guy had won. We’re gonna fight him on a whole range of issues over the next four years. We think his philosophy is all screwed up. But right now, what the country needs is for us to compromise, get a deficit reduction deal in place, make sure middle class taxes don’t go up, make sure that we’re laying the foundations for growth, give certainty to businesses large and small, not put ourselves through some sort of self-inflicted crisis every six months, allow ourselves time to focus on things like preventing the tragedy in Newtown from happening again, focus on issues like energy and immigration reform, all the things that will make a determination as to whether our country grows over the next four years, ten years, 20 years, and if we could just pull back from the immediate political battles, if ya peel off the partisan war paint, then we should be able to get something done.”

I think, I think the Speaker would like to get that done. But an environment needs to be created not just among House Republicans but among Senate Republicans that says the campaign is over and let’s see if we can do what’s right for the country, at least for the next month! And then, we can re-engage in all the other battles that they’ll wanna fight.

This has to be one of the lowest moments of a very low presidency


Republicans really seem to think a 3% tax tax increase on the wealthiest people in the U.S. is the end of the world. Now they are outraged that the president should use a genuine tragedy to draw parallels about what should invoke outrage. Oh yea, this is truly a low point said the wackos who lied and over four thousand Americans died. Too bad we can’t tax false outrage, Republican bombast alone could balance the budget in months.

Black and White Rocky Sea Coast wallpaper – Republicans Should Learn What Virtues Are Before Preaching To Others

Black and White Rocky Sea Coast wallpaper


As we get pass the post election analysis by the far Right – calling it analysis is generous – I was going to let all the general noise about president Obama being re-elected because he promised to give more stuff to the undeserving leeches a pass. Than conservative columnists Ross Douthat tried to sneak yet another makers versus takers column under the radar, by questioning the makers/takers dynamic as a political strategy and ending up writing the same garbage in slightly coded language, The Liberal Gloat ( linked to by hundreds of conservative sites with an ahem brother).

Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.

Those must be some nice big designer blinders Ross wears. They manage to block his view of the connection between economics – good wages and health care benefits to be exact – and the stability of home life. Hispanics and recent immigrants work longer hours with lower pay than most Americans. And why wrap up government support in Hispanics, and not in red versus blue. Douthat, like all well-trained conservatives are using some none too subtle framing. He knows or should know that red states have a higher illegitimate birth rate than blue states, and red states get more government dollars than they pay into the system. That is the bottom up view. The top down view sees wealthy conservatives reaping rewards that far exceed anything they provide in terms of economic, intellectual or cultural value. This recent report is a timely example, Hostess To Pay $1.75 Million In Executive Bonuses After Blaming Unions For Bankruptcy. yes Hostess needs to adjust its business model for a culture where moms and dads are giving their kids fruit juice and organic peanut butter for snacks. That still does not account for a business model that says the people who sit behind a desk all day should reap the largest share of the cupcake that took thousands of workers to make and distribute. Ross, also like his brethren in the church of conservative hypocrisy likes to say that America is all about rugged individualism right up to the point where they need to make a some lame argument about the deterioration of our culture. Since he uses the community as culture argument in this case, how about the social contract being ripped to shreds by the plutocratic class that has taken the nation’s capital and shifted most of the rewards to the plutocratic class.

Ross wants us to believe that the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson are working over 200% harder than the guy who polishes the floors of their luxury condominiums. The statistics tell us that if you pay those guys more, they’re marriages are more successful on average, their children less likely to have illegitimate children and are more likely to pursue some education pass high school and to earn about the same or a little more than their parents. Ross is another conservative wearing $400 shoes telling America their problem is not enough of you are pulling yourself up by boot straps that are broken because the Mitt Romneys either sent your job to Asia or is paying you just enough to survive, not to thrive.

While I’m tempted to say that Republicans just give up that crap about people voting for Democrats because of all the wonderful gov’mint giveaways, no just keep on believing the  same tiresome tropes. What did Romney and Ryan run on? More government handouts for millionaires who have been whining about how hard they have it. Both Republicans promised millionaires yet another tax cut. Why, so they could put more gold in the safe deposit box. Because that is what millionaires do with tax cuts – they DO NOT create jobs, Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged

1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.

According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.

2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.

In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.

3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.

The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world’s Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that’s $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.

Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.

4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.

After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.

U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They’ve passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.

The wealthy would rather sit back and collect interests than create jobs. If they can make the same or more money by basically doing nothing they will and do.

Perhaps for the first time in his life Allen West will have to find a job where he is not sucking down tax payer’s money faster than Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh can find another trophy wife, Florida Rep. Allen West(R) concedes. Now he’ll have plenty of time to form a posse and go looking for those commies hiding behind every tree in Washington.

I do not think it amazing that the Fast and Furious and Benghazi conspiracy theories have only worked in the fetid swamps of ConWorld. Democrats, on every platform that was available to us made it clear that mud was not going to stick. The Swiftboat attacks were the pinnacle of fifty years of conservatives lies and demonizing, against a decorated war hero at that. lesson learned. If Conservatives repeated the lies, half-truths and bizarre distortions ten times, we repeated the truth twelve. Reflecting on this election’s failed attempts at the same deeply immoral tactics, what have the freaks of conservatism learned? Obama got inside their pointed heads with his zen master powers of mind control and gosh, they sure didn’t see that coming, How The Conservative Media Lost The Election. The plan was to unmask Obama. It didn’t work.

And with the Republican Party now in full-throttle soul-searching mode, many in the conservative blogosphere are turning introspective as well.

“I think the right media may have erred,” Dan Riehl, a contributor to Breitbart News and longtime proprietor of Riehl World News, told BuzzFeed a week after the election. “I think we let Obama get into our heads and we wound up campaigning against him, rather than for the things we believe in.”

“It was a trap,” he added. “And one I can’t say I didn’t fall into.”

In hindsight, Riehl questioned the wisdom of devoting so much energy to combing through the president’s early life for signs of radicalism — a process that yielded few true exposés, but rather a handful of scraps that bloggers tried to spin into scandals. For example, in March, Breitbart News reported that Obama attended a 1998 production of a play about left-wing Chicago activist Saul Alinsky. The story, which was presented as a major scoop on the site, included this memorable lede:

In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama claims that he worried after 9/11 that his name, so similar to that of Osama bin Laden, might harm his political career.

But Obama was not always so worried about misspellings and radical resemblances. He may even have cultivated them as he cast himself as Chicago’s radical champion.

“I just don’t know that America cared,” Riehl now says of this story genre. “The guy had already been elected, and our message was that Barack Obama’s a socialist that wants to control your life. I’m not arguing that he isn’t, but is that a message people want to hear?”

I probably read more conservative commentary and studies than most conservatives. What is it exactly that conservatives believe in is still something of a mystery. They’re always for low taxes. In other words they’re against paying their fair share of the cost of having a civilization. Riehl and Douthat think freedom is not free, but they think civilization is. For over half a century conservatives have staked out sole proprietorship of Family Values Inc. The war on family values is about as real as Bill O’Reilly’s war on Christmas. The biggest threat to American families is the social-Darwinism preached by conservatives as though it were the same thing as the waters of salvation. In Republispeak the quasi-religious and the far right economics of dog-eat-dog are joined at the hip and the mouth.

“My impression from the outside was that the target of the vetting effort was always the mainstream media, not really the president,” said Ben Domenech, a conservative blogger and cofounder of the long-running conservative blog

Domenech said conservative coverage of Obama’s first term drifted “too often toward entertainment and mockery, and too little toward the critical and hard work of investigation.”

“I think it’s a bit disappointing that the major scandals during Obama’s administration thus far have all been broken by mainstream media entities, not journalists on the right,” he added.

Wait one gull darn minute. Does Ben mean to say that conservatives – his site will tell you repeatedly that  they are smarter, have the best polices, are more articulate, have a better work ethic and are just plain better human beings than anyone on the planet, spent too much time mocking and not enough time on issues. This is where Riehl’s excuses comes in handy – Obama got inside their heads and made them all his bytches. They ain’t learned nuttin. They ain’t gonna learn nuttin. That would require an epiphany, the kind of soul searching and neuron use the conservative movement has proven it is singularly incapable of having. While Google has struggled with it, Republicans might want to adopt a slogan, like do no evil. Just having a worthwhile goal in the first step to recovery for kool-aid addicts.

Farm Twilight wallpaper – ONE OF the difficulties, as I see it, is that we worship money instead of honor

Farm Twilight wallpaper


The fake scandals and conspiracy theories dreamed up by conservatives have always been vapid at best. From the beginning the faux outrage, the shrill cries of wrong doing concerning Benghazi have been entirely based on juvenile nitpicking and finger-pointing while pearl clutching. The first ‘scandal’ was that president Obama and the administration did not say the word terrorist fast enough. That sounds like I’m being facetious, but that was is still is large part of the feigned outrage. President Obama called the attack an act of terror. Yet once again the president failed to call the loony language police to check his speech first (Michele Malkin, Jim Hoft, Fox’s resident racist Eric Bolling – all the people who lied to the USA about 9-11, Iraq, WMD,  al Qaeda connection, the Housing Bubble, Fannie May, birth certificates and so on ). I am not aware of a left of center major blogger or politician who not only lies , but actually lives their lies day in and day out in  an echo chamber of mendacity.  Benghazi is part of an ongoing, sure to be endless campaign to try and hang some scandal around the neck of an administration that has been remarkably scandal free. Republicans talk a lot about values, Democrats actually have them and it infuriates Conservatives to no end, What Benghazi Is about: Scandal Envy – Republicans are livid that Obama hasn’t had his major scandal yet.

The real scandal is that Susan Rice went on television soon after and amid all kinds of “based on the best information we have”s and “we’ll have to see”s, said one thing that turned out not to be the case: that after the protests in Cairo, there was some kind of copycat protest in Benghazi, which was then “hijacked” by extremist elements using heavy weapons to stage an attack.

A sane person might say, OK, she was obviously given some incorrect information at that time, but it’s not a particularly meaningful deception. As people have been pointing out for weeks now, it’s not as though not using the word “terror” or saying there was a protest before the attack gave the White House some enormous political advantage. If you’re going to have a cover-up, there has to be something you’re covering up.

But now, some Republicans, particularly John McCain and Lindsay Graham, are essentially saying that this horrifying cover-up was quite possibly the greatest crime in the history of the United States government, and if we’re going to get to the bottom of it nothing short of a select committee—a “Watergate-style committee,” as it is being referred to by reporters—will do. Who knows what it might uncover? Were there CIA whistleblowers whose bodies are now lying at the bottom of the Potomac? Was David Petraeus being blackmailed? Are William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright involved? Did Susan Rice fly to Tripoli, have a steamy liaison with a clone of Ayman al-Zawahiri created in a secret underground laboratory, then go to Benghazi where she personally killed Ambassador Chris Stevens with a hat pin? We won’t know unless we spin this out into a multi-week story!

One thing that Waldman left out was that the administration very likely checked with the CIA and knew that some of the personnel involved were CIA. Not saying anything about that has in 20/20 hindsight probably hurt the White House in terms of later revelations, but it was the right thing to do in terms of national security at the time. It was a no win situation for a Democrat. Regardless of how they told the public the Right was going to spin the story. The Mind-blowing Hypocrisy of John McCain(R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC): WMD Lie is Good, Repeating Intelligence is Bad

Hypocrisy alert: John McCain supported Condoleeza Rice who misled the public on WMD, causing thousands to die, but now attacks Susan Rice.

Remember when Condoleezza Rice misled the public about Iraq’s WMDs and over 4,000 Americans died? John McCain doesn’t seem to. McCain is trying to sell the idea that Susan Rice appearing on TV to tell the American people what the intelligence community had ascertained about Libya on September 18 was wrong. She should have chosen not to speak on the subject without more certainty, he and Lindsay Graham claim.

Yet, Susan Rice’s statement made it clear that things were not certain. Here, once again, is her statement to the media on September 18 (emphasis mine):

RICE: Well, first of all, Chris, we are obviously investigating this very closely. The FBI has a lead in this investigation. The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack… Obviously, we will wait for the results of the investigation and we don’t want to jump to conclusions before then. But I do think it’s important for the American people to know our best current assessment.

Even if no one else in the Bush-Cheney administration had not been endless sources of disinformation, Condi Rice alone was a virtual lie factory. Excepting liberal concerns about drone strikes against terrorists that might be killing civilians, President Obama has a stellar national security record compared to Bush and when Bush was president conservatives scolded us for supposedly politicizing national security, Under Bush, Hannity Denounced “Politicizing” National Security. With Benghazi, Hannity Can’t Stop. To have values, values worth having anyway, one has to have some consistent standards. Republicans only have one consistent standard, malevolence. Fox News, a subsidiary of a multi-national foreign-owned corporation, keeps moving the time-line of events around to spin things in the worse light. This just came in from CNN and of course the Conservative Noise Bubble is claiming vindication, leaving out some details. Ex-CIA chief Petraeus testifies Benghazi attack was al Qaeda-linked terrorism

Earlier, close observers said they thought Petraeus would tell lawmakers that the CIA knew soon after the attack that Ansar al Sharia was responsible, according to an official with knowledge of the case. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject matter.

Ansar al Sharia is more of a label than an organization, one that’s been adopted by conservative Salafist groups across the Arab world.

Related: What is Ansar al Sharia?

It’s unclear to media whether Petraeus spoke specifically about Ansar al Sharia.

After the hearing, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, blamed confusion over two seemingly different versions of the consulate violence — was it caused by a protest or by terrorists?

He said there were essentially two threads of violence: one caused by the protest, which was chaotic, and a second that was orchestrated by terrorists, which was highly coordinated.

There were “two different types of situations at play,” Ruppersberger said, explaining that in the hours and days after the attack, it was naturally difficult to clearly discern what happened.

Intelligence evolves, he said, and new information comes out when agents obtain it. He downplayed the idea that there was something untoward going on.

Petraeus: I did not pass on classified information

The former CIA chief has said there was a stream of intelligence from multiple sources, including video at the scene, that indicated the group was behind the attack, according to an official with knowledge of the situation.

Meanwhile, separate intelligence indicated the violence at the consulate was inspired by protests in Egypt over an ostensibly anti-Islam film that was privately produced in the United States. The movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” portrayed the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizing buffoon.

There were 20 intelligence reports that indicated that anger about the film may be to blame, the official said.

The CIA eventually disproved those reports, but not before Petraeus’ initial briefing to Congress the day after the attack when he discussed who might be behind the attack and what prompted it. During that briefing, he raised Ansar al Sharia’s possible connection as well as outrage about the film, the official said.

Earlier an official said that Petraeus’ aim in testifying was to clear up “a lot of misrepresentations of what he told Congress initially.”

President Obama almost immediately, though not two seconds after it happened, called the attacks an “act of terror.” Which is probably what everyone thought on first hearing the news. When a temporary embassy compound is attacked and people killed that is a pretty obvious conclusion. The details of who and why were not sorted out until later, there being a total of “20 intelligence reports.”

Jerome Corsi’s final straw

Back in April, after ABC News quoted Jerome Corsi as an authority in an article on so-called “birth tourism,” Media Matters’ Todd Gregory pointed out how low ABC had sunk:

Jerome Corsi is the guy who co-wrote Unfit for Command, a book so infamously inaccurate that it helped spawn the term “swiftboating” as a description of a political smear campaign.

That alone should tell you everything you need to know about Corsi, but there are so many other reasons he’s not a credible figure. There’s the birtherism. The appearance on a “pro-White” radio show. The bigoted comments on Free Republic. The promotion of laughable conspiracy theories about global government and the “North American Union.” The failed Obama smear book.

What has Corsi done since? Well, there’s this:

Yeah, that’s Corsi at the WorldNetDaily Convention last weekend, saying President Obama has engaged in “identity theft” because he has “stolen the identity of a natural born citizen” by “using someone else’s Social Security number.”

He also called for Obama to “renounce Lucifer.” Seriously.

It is tempting to dismiss Corsi as juts another wacko. The problem with calling far-right zealots like Corsi crazy is that it relieves them of some responsibility for what they say. Corsi is not your crazy uncle – at least I hope he’s not. He is a calculating malicious liar. He seems to relish his role as a kind of false prophet of the Right. He believes that he and the other true believers in the cult of conservatism are dispensing the one and only truth, even though there are no facts to make his case. Facts themselves are the enemy. They interfere with the righteousness of the cause. If honor, truth and virtue have to be beaten senseless and left in a ditch, than so be it. Just think General Petraeus, who conservatives had considered a presidential hopeful not only worked for a president who embraced Lucifer and is guilty of the single biggest case of identity theft in history, but the general’s wife still does.

Defending the Right to Treat Your Employees Like Dirt

Getting tired of eating at Chick-Fil-A every day to express your hatred of liberals? Well, now you have a couple more options. You can chow down at Applebee’s, where the CEO of their New York franchises went on TV to declare that he won’t be doing more hiring because of the costs Obamacare would impose. Or you can head over to Papa John’s, whose CEO, John Schnatter, has said that Obamacare could add as much as—brace yourself—10 cents to the cost of a pizza, and since obviously customers would never tolerate such price gouging, he’ll just have to cut back employees’ hours.

[   ]….And there’s something else to keep in mind: Nearly all companies with over 50 employees already offer health coverage to their employees, even though this provision of Obamacare doesn’t take effect until January 2014. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 98 percent of companies with over 200 employees offer coverage, as do 94 percent of companies with between 50 and 199 employees. That means when you see some CEO come out and decry the costs of Obamacare, the person you’re looking at is one of the jerks, the guy who treats his employees like crap and is angry that the law is going to force him to be a little more humane.

Depending on the day I’m not sure conservatives have won the argument in terms of getting everyone to look at business the way Papa John’s does. Though there is definitely pressure not to question such business attitudes. It is scandalous in some quarters to wonder how ethical these business models are that do not provide employees health insurance. This is a good related essay about people who think like John Schnatter and the CEO of Applebees new York, from 1937, Essay by Then Senator Harry Truman

“ONE OF the difficulties, as I see it, is that we worship money instead of honor. A billionaire, in our estimation, is much greater in these days in the eyes of the people than the public servant who works for public interest. It makes no difference if the billionaire rode to wealth on the sweat of little children and the blood of underpaid labor. No one ever considered Carnegie libraries steeped in the blood of the Homestead steelworkers, but they are.

We do not remember that the Rockefeller Foundation is founded on the dead miners of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and a dozen other similar performances. We worship Mammon; . . .

It is a pity that Wall Street, with its ability to control all the wealth of the nation and to hire the best law brains in the country, has not produced some financial statesmen, some men who could see the dangers of bigness and of the concentration of the control of wealth. Instead of working to meet the situation, they are still employing the best law brains to serve greed and selfish interest. People can stand only so much, and one of these days there will be a settlement. We shall have one receivership too many, and one unnecessary depression out of which we will not come with the power still in the same old hands. . . . (emphasis mine)

Sunset Road Trip America wallpaper – Conservatives Conspiracy Theories Are Like Vampires They Can’t Stand The Light of Day

Sunset Road Trip America wallpaper


The scandal surrounding former CIA Director and retired General  David Petraeus is as boring now and it was when the story first broke. Thus far the only possible breach of national security may have been committed his biographer turned paramour Paula Broadwell. I’m guessing given the record of such past sex scandals, the voyeur aspect, the delight of some in setting back and passing moral judgement is a large part of what is driving the pandering media coverage – that means especially Good Morning America, CBS’s morning show and NBC’s the Today Show. The only other consequential aspect of the media coverage in driven by the conservative media and it’s conspiracy theories. Admittedly not scientific, just by observation, the biggest part of the Right’s angle on the scandal is that Petraeus’s affair was being used by the White House to blackmail the CIA director into whitewashing the “true” story of Benghazi,Libya. Conservative site Newsbusters, their intrepid analysis Noel Sheppard and WaPO columnist Charles Krauthammer are on the case, Krauthammer: White House ‘Held Affair Over Petraeus’s Head’ For Favorable Testimony On Benghazi

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday said the White House used David Petraeus’s affair to get the CIA director to give testimony about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that was in line with the administration’s position on the matter.

Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report, Krauthammer said, “The sword was lowered on Election Day” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think the really shocking news today was that General Petraeus thought and hoped he could keep his job. He thought that it might and it would be kept secret, and that he could stay in his position. I think what that tells us is really important. It meant that he understood that the FBI obviously knew what was going on. He was hoping that those administration officials would not disclose what had happened, and therefore hoping that he would keep his job. And that meant that he understood that his job, his reputation, his legacy, his whole celebrated life was in the hands of the administration, and he expected they would protect him by keeping it quiet.

And that brings us to the ultimate issue, and that is his testimony on September 13. That’s the thing that connects the two scandals, and that’s the only thing that makes the sex scandal relevant. Otherwise it would be an exercise in sensationalism and voyeurism and nothing else. The reason it’s important is here’s a man who knows the administration holds his fate in its hands, and he gives testimony completely at variance with what the Secretary of Defense had said the day before, at variance with what he’d heard from his station chief in Tripoli, and with everything that we had heard. Was he influenced by the fact that he knew his fate was held by people within the administration at that time?

All conspiracy conjecture has flaws. Some of the 9-11 conspiracy chatter was pretty good as far as these things go because the average person does not know much about structural engineering or the potential high temperatures generated by a plane loaded with jet fuel flying into a building. The Right’s chatter relies entirely on buying into a scenario, a narrative in which they cast everything in a certain light, relying on the strong tendency of their listeners and readers to drink the kool-aid as usual. If this whole scandal was engineered by the White House how did they get Jill Kelly, a conservative Republican to contact the FBI to start an investigation into e-mails sent by conservative Republican and staunch is not sycophantic admirer of Petraeus, Paula Broadwell. How did that conversation go? President Obama: Hi Jill this is the president, I’d like you to call the FBI and ask them to start an investigation into those hostile e-mails you have been getting. Jill: Oh sure, no problem. Anything I can do to bring down a revered Republican general. These events were supposed to stop Petraeus from testifying about Benghazi. The tiny problem with that is that the General is going to testify. Let’s keep on our Republican tin-foil hats for another minute. Since the general is going to testify and the scandal has already broken and has gotten more media scrutiny than the lies Bush, Cheney, Charles Krauthammer and Newsbusters told about Iraq, does that not suggest that the conspiracy is not working. If Petraeus was being blackmailed he could not only testify, but with the blackmail no longer an issue he could totally burn the White House by spinning the story in a way that makes the White house look more culpable. That would be very difficult to do since we already have facts gathered by the media who went to Benghazi. Those facts dovetail with other accounts. Let’s also consider the possibility of Petraeus not testifying. If he was being blackmailed or even slightly pressured or even only imagined that the White House burned him in some way. There is nothing stopping him from calling 60 Minutes or the new York Times and getting all the press coverage he wanted to completely burn the White House. That is the thing about Republicans and their serial lies and myths – they start to crumble at the slightest use of logic and facts.

If anyone is going to get burned about the issues related to the scandal it is going to be based on one or more Republicans violating national security laws, FBI investigating how Petraeus biographer Broadwell obtained classified files

The FBI is making a new push to determine how a woman who had an affair with retired Gen. David H. Petraeus when he was CIA director obtained classified files, part of an expanding series of investigations in a scandal that also threatens the career of the United States’ top military commander in Afghanistan.

Senior law enforcement officials said that a late-night seizure on Monday of boxes of material from the North Carolina home of Paula Broadwell, a Petraeus biographer whose affair with him led to his resignation last week, marks a renewed focus by investigators on sensitive material found in her possession.

“The issue of national security is still on the table,” one U.S. law enforcement official said. Both Petraeus and Broadwell have denied to investigators that he was the source of any classified information, officials said.

One other thing that struck me about how this all began is how a Republican with some power and connections got the FBI enquirer stared in the first place. The average person would usually start reporting what they believed to be threatening e-mail with local law enforcement.

Kelley subsequently received additional e-mails in a similar vein, sent to an account she shared with her husband. The source close to Kelley said they were sent under four anonymous names, some apparently from Internet cafes. Kelley shared the initial e-mails forwarded from Allen with a friend who is an FBI agent, and eventually turned over all the missives to the bureau, which determined that Broadwell had sent them. The subsequent FBI inquiry exposed the Broadwell-Petraeus affair.

Close associates of Allen, who is married, said the general denied that he had an affair with Kelley or that he had committed any wrongdoing in his communications with her. One said that investigators may have misconstrued platonic references to her as a “sweetheart.”

Nevertheless, the bureau turned over a mountain of documents to Pentagon officials — an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 pages, based largely on communication between Allen and Kelley — prompting Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta to order an inspector general inquiry.

The FBI inquiry of Broadwell and the new Pentagon probe of Allen create the potential for more evidence to surface, and for the scandal to expand further.

Certainly one purpose the Obama as blackmailer intrigue is that it deflects from a scandal in which all the major players are Republicans. As we all know, conservatives are the nation’s gold standard for moral behavior and this is just another crack in that nonsense, that is a genuine urban myth.

Kelley is turning out to be quite the character, Jill Kelley, Woman Who Sparked Petraeus Scandal, Ran Questionable Charity and, Jill Kelley, at the center of the Petraeus scandal, had called police over the weekend to shoo people off her lawn and in the process invoked her “diplomatic inviolability” to bewildered police officers.

If it wasn’t for you fancy city slickers, Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be VP now, Ryan Sees Urban Vote as Reason G.O.P. Lost. Though even on election night he believed everything Karl Rove said about winning being a shoe-in. While the conservative faithful certainly still see Ryan as the brainy wiz kid and the future of conservatism, in the reality based community he has proven to be all PowerPoint slides and no substance.

The Latest Plan To Keep Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren Off Banking Committee

Last week there was a movement afoot to block Warren from getting on the committee, which oversees the financial sector. But that seems to be meeting with enough resistance that at least one top Senator has publicly voiced support for seating Warren on banking.

On Friday afternoon, Senator Jack Reed—the number 2 Democrat on the banking committee—told George Zornick of The Nation that he would strong endorse her if she sought a position on banking.

“I can’t think of anybody that’s come to the Senate with thirty years of detailed knowledge of the industry from the perspective of teaching at law school and doing many other things, and then serving in the drafting of significant aspects of Dodd-Frank from the administration standpoint. So she comes prepared,” he said. “It’s really an abundance of intellectual riches.”

Politoco’s Ben White goes even further in his Morning Money memo:

From a top Dem source: “[Sen. Jack] Reed (D-R.I.) is pushing hard for [Warren] to get on Banking, but there are many bank lobbyists pushing to keep her off.”

The caveat here is that Warren may not seek a position on the banking committee. There will be pressure on her not to take the seat from Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior Senator from New York, who would be a shoe-in if not for Warren. More importantly, according to a former Hill staffer, the Democratic leadership will likely offer Warren an even more sought after committee seat—perhaps on the extremely powerful Senate Finance Committee. The point would be to offer her Warren a powerful position that kept her out of direct oversight of the financial sector.

Update: The seniority argument was somewhat undercut yesterday when The Hill reported that New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand had said she is not interested in the seat on the judiciary committee. She was one of the two Senators who were said to be angling for the seat and were ahead of Warren in seniority.

Lobbyists for the big banks, who had succeeded in keeping Warren from becoming the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and had contributed millions to her opponent in the senate race, have been reminding senior Democrats that Warren wasn’t really entitled to a seat on the committee. Other Democratic Senators seeking a seat on the committee—two Democratic seats are vacant—had seniority.

Of course, the lobbyists weren’t really interested in Senate traditions and seniority. They just didn’t want Warren on the committee because they view her as enemy number one. She’s too smart to be bamboozled and too independent to be influenced by campaign cash or arm-twisting by party leaders. That makes her dangerous.

The United States Senate Committee on Finance is a very powerful committee, but it would be great to have Warren on United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. She not only has the financial legislation expertise, but has proven very adept at batting down right-wing talking points from bank puppets like  ranking Republican Richard Shelby (R-GA). When you see a sleazy politician in a drama making back room deals with lobbyist they could well be modeled on any conservative currently on the banking Committee – Shelby, David Vitter (R-LA) who gets his dates via a phone and MasterCard and Jim DeMint (R-SC) who has been a puppet for special interests so long he thinks that is his real job. Poor Warren will have to have a special disinfectant bath after every session with these creeps.

The Old Orchard wallpaper – until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream

green landscape

The Old Orchard wallpaper


Nate Silver still has President Obama up, Late Poll Gains for Obama Leave Romney With Longer Odds. While Gallup is calling it a dead heat. At the same link Pew has Obama up by three points. If Obama loses ( unlikely, though possible)  it will be especially galling since if Democratic voters would simply vote we would not only easily win the presidency, but would take back the House as well. Democrats do seem to have a problem with frustration and letting the desire for perfect progressive change get in the way of making solid if slow and incremental change. Romney lost all three debates on the facts, on a genuine vision for the country and on pure arrogance. Yet Republicans – in any platform they had access to – social media, TV, radio, newspapers and good old direct mail, declared Romney the winner. Perhaps not so much the last two, but after the first debate, Democrats on most of the same media platforms decided that Obama gave a lack luster performance, almost as though the debate was about getting the best actor award instead of being grounded in reality and rallying the nation behind American values. Instead of the values of the elite. It took the conservative movement fifty years to reach the level of organization they have today. After every set back, they got angrier and more determined. A lesson that seems to be lost on some Democrats. We seem to have the votes, the organization is good and getting better, but we’re still letting psychology and/or apathy get in the way – Young Voter Turnout Fell 60% from 2008 to 2010; Dems Won’t Win in 2012 If the Trend Continues

In 2010, polls showed that young people were still supportive of Obama and the Democrats. But only 20.9 percent of them bothered to vote.

CIRCLE director Peter Levine said, “For liberal students, this election felt, at best, as a defensive move, protecting a Congress they don’t like that much.”

That cost Democrats Senate and House seats across the country. And the down-ballot losses were even more significant, as close contests for legislative and local races tipped to the Republicans after young people failed to show.

One can understand being disappointed that as an idealistic voter – student, white male, union worker, mother, environmentalist, or whatever, that one does not get everything on their wish list after the election. In that case one can choose to not vote and make your wish list even more difficult to achieve as happened in 2010 or you look at the choices and decide what action should I take to get even a centimeter closer to my goals. Just one historical example. The 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, which gave women the right to vote was a product of the suffrage movement. You know when the suffrage movement started? In the 1850s. It took them 70 years to achieve this fundamental progress. Let’s say your disappointed with Obama for not closing GITMO. That is a reasonable objection to this administration’s national security policy. There is no reason why most of those prisoners cannot be given trials and the conceited kept in the same maximum security prisons that we keep America’s most dangerous criminals. We might have been able to make that happen if Democrats had kept the House in 2010. Romney will certainly not close GITMO or stop using drones or whatever other issues the center-left has with Obama. That still leaves a dozen hugely important issues on the table along with a few hundred less urgent, but meaningful ones that Democrats could pass in Congress and Obama would gladly sign into law. A Romney presidency, with Democrats holding the Senate would mean that maybe Harry Reid (d_NV) could hold the line of the very worse of the radical Romney agenda, but watch progress – like health care and financial reform be chipped away. While Democrats will likely hold the White House and the Senate we could have won it all. And we didn’t. Not because of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson or Karl Rove and his billionaire PACs, but because we did not vote.

National Anti-Suffrage Association, 1911. The current iteration of the NAA is now commonly known as the Republican Party. Top 6 Lies Romney Has Told Women in an Election Season Full of Whoppers

2. Reproductive Freedom

Mitt’s plans for women at home are as cruel as those for their sisters abroad. Make no mistake: Romney will say whatever it takes to get elected, and then govern exactly as he pleases. In a Republican debate, he boasted of switching positions on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy once he became governor of Massachusetts. He campaigned as pro-choice to secure votes, and then reversed himself in office to win conservative GOP support. In his own words [4]:

“I changed my mind as the governor. This didn’t just happen the last couple of weeks or the last year. This happened when I was governor the first time a bill came to my desk that related to life. I could not sign a bill that would take away human life. I came down on the side of life every single instance as governor of Massachusetts. I was awarded by the Massachusetts Citizens for Life with their leadership award for my record.”

For a mind-bending trip through Romney’s lies, switches and obfuscations on pregnancy termination, check out a video by Slate’s William Saletan [5].

Mitt has pledged [6]to defund Planned Parenthood, appoint only the most anti-women judges, and reverse Roe v. Wade. He has lately taken to pretending that he cares about contraception, a necessary part of women’s healthcare, and in the second presidential debate, he said he didn’t believe Washington bureaucrats or employers should tell a woman whether to use contraception. Don’t buy it. Mitt backs the Blunt Amendment [7], which would allow employers to refuse to cover things like – contraceptives.

Women have been fighting this battle for over a hundred years. They are not, despite what Rush Limbaugh or Mitt Romney thinks, three-fifths of a person.

Conservatives are already working to de-legtimize an Obama victory, Politico: Only White Voters Give a President a “Mandate”

Political reporters love the concept of political “mandates” even though political scientists are skeptical that mandates even exist. On Sunday, Politico’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen penned the latest entry in this genre, arguing that Barack Obama, if he wins, won’t have a mandate because he won’t have won a majority of white voters:

If President Barack Obama wins, he will be the popular choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites. That’s what the polling has consistently shown in the final days of the campaign. It looks more likely than not that he will lose independents, and it’s possible he will get a lower percentage of white voters than George W. Bush got of Hispanic voters in 2000.

A broad mandate this is not.

This pseudo-Buchananite argument—that the white vote is important for symbolic and totemic purposes beyond the actual tally—is a favorite of the political press. At best, VandeHei and Allen are regurgitating the Republican argument that there are “real Americans” who vote Republican and then there is everyone else. The converse argument—that the Republican Party’s overwhelming reliance on white votes while the Democrats represent a broader cross-section of the country means that the GOP would lack a mandate—is rarely made. When VandeHei and Allen address the GOP’s growing demographic problem, it’s merely a matter of numbers and winning elections. They do not question whether a party whose supporters are 91 percent white would have a mandate to govern an increasingly diverse nation.

VandeHei and Allen’s delegitimization of nonwhite voters is reprehensible in and of itself, but it’s also historically illiterate. Race may affect perceptions of Barack Obama, but Democrats began having a white voter problem decades ago. In 1964, Johnson carried nonwhites by Barack Obama-like margins because his opponent Barry Goldwater, though not himself a racist, made common cause with white supremacists.

Johnson memorably declared after signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act that “we have lost the South for a generation,” which in hindsight was less prophetic than optimistic. Johnson’s prophecy, however, helps shed light on the details of the Democrats’ “white voter problem,” details that VandeHei and Allen ignore. When you look at the white working-class vote by region, for example, Democrats remain competitive everywhere but in the South, where they get crushed.

As an election year issue it is too late, but it is always interesting, or maybe maddening is the correct word, to contemplate my home, the South. White southerners have no problem at all with receiving government benefits – from new roads to a new fire station to Medicare and civil service pensions, hell red states are the biggest recipients of gov’mint larges. They just resent anyone getting them that does not pass their race and gender litmus test. When southern white folks collect food stamps it is because they really need them. When those ‘others’ collect them, they’re mooching. Democrats cannot crack this cognitive dissonance with charts and statistics because it is a deeply held belief imperious to facts.

Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery, Alabama –  2010 February 19.The inscription reads, “…until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Fox News Poised To Manufacture Another Bogus New Black Panther Controversy

But Fox appears ready to go through the same cycle again, highlighting a reported member of the New Black Panther Party who reportedly showed up outside the doors of a polling station and was shown on video opening a door for someone going inside. Co-host Steve Doocy stated that “the organization claims they are monitoring the 2012 election, but some critics say that it looks like intimidation like in 2008.”

That intimidation that Doocy is so concerned about was one guy.

Conservatives Are Still Trying To Exploit Death To Score Political Points

Green Gold Foliage wallpaper


Conservatives always have the advantage in any story where there are missing details. Waiting for evidence, waiting for facts, waiting for further investigation is no hurdle for the radical Right. They’re all too happy to fill in any gaps of knowledge with their speculation, accusations that they just know are true because they feel they are true. I wish on these ethically challenged zealots a jury of people with similar mindsets should they ever find themselves facing a criminal trial. It would be more The Oxbow Incident than trial. Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday that he and top military commanders “felt very strongly” that deploying American forces to defend against the fatal attack last month on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was too risky because they did not have a clear picture of what was happening on the ground.

“There’s a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking going on here,” Mr. Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon, adding that “the basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”

As a result, Mr. Panetta said, he and two top commanders “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” The commanders are Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command, which oversees American military operations in Africa, including Libya.

We do know that Bush and Cheney did some micromanaging of troop activity – to the detriment of the American military and innocent Iraqis. While that can happen most day to day decisions about where to deploy regular troops or special forces is done by people like Gen. Carter F. Ham or the CIA. The Benghazi attack took place about 4 PM and lasted for about 2 hours. Not a lot of time to deploy much of a response. Every far Right conservative site seems to be covering this. Much of what has been written is incoherent garbage – with the commenters  foaming at the mouth with crazy accusations and claims of knowledge that defy any attempt to make sense of. This is from The Weekly Standard, generally thought of as one of conservatism’s intellectual flagships, written by editor and publisher William Kristol, Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”
Barack Obama

So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?

“presumably”? That links leads to a tweet by Jake Trapper at ABC and it is a blind quote from an unidentified spokesperson. Super reliable. Based on that start building the lynching platform. No it would not have automatically been an executive level only decision. Military commanders in the field have some leeway to respond to terrorism committed against Americans. By the time anyone could pin down exactly what was going on, American security personnel on site and Libyan security had already re-secured the compound. That is where the block buster Libya embassy e-mails were supposed to blow this story wide open, only they fizzled, The Shocking, World-Changing New Libya Emails

The next bend in the Libya story—sorry, Libya scandal—began last night, when CBS News and other organizations scooped a series of emails from the State Department on Sept. 11. At 4:05 p.m., State emails that the Benghazi consulate is “under attack.” At 4:54, the “firing has stopped.” At 6:07 p.m., “Ansar al-Sharia [has claimed] responsibility” for the attack.

Allahpundit explains why this is should be so disturbing.

The White House had plenty of reason to suspect more was going on than a protest that got out of hand, even from the very beginning. But that would meddle with one of O’s strongest reelection narratives, i.e. the president who demolished Al Qaeda (read this for a stark illustration of how certain key supporters are helping him out with that), so we didn’t hear about it until Eli Lake and CNN and Reuters all but dragged it out of him.

One problem. In the same story that breaks the news and gives readers the emails, CBS News prints an unaired answer that Obama gave Steve Kroft on Sept. 12. It was his first interview after the attacks.

You’re right that this is not a situation that was—exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.

The next day, Obama was in Colorado, where he addressed the killings in Libya.

A couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya. … So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.

Obama didn’t pretend that this was merely “a protest that got out of hand.” The trouble, when we look back at the timeline, is that reporters didn’t really glom onto the Libya story for a few days. When they did, by the Sunday shows and Sept. 19, you had administration representatives soft-peddling the “target Americans from the start” story.

Before that, though, if you followed the story, you knew that Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the attacks and that Obama was calling them “acts of terror.” This is the oddity of the story we now call “Benghazigate.” One “scandal,” that Obama pretended the attacks were only spontaneous results of a protest, is baseless. The next scandal, that the administration didn’t beef up security in Benghazi, is just harder to pin on a villain. So we hear more about the “shifting timeline,” even though the president had implied that the attacks were terrorism four times in the 48 hours afterward.

This is a tough situation. A father of one of the SEALs who died believes and has helped fuel some of the growing urban myths about Benghazi, Libya. It is obviously devastating to lose a child to a violent death. As much as we all sympathize, that does not mean that feelings should cloud the facts,

Woods also repeated a version of events that the White House says is not accurate, that “the White House Situation Room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening.”

White House officials say there was no video stream available. So what kind of real-time information was coming in? State Department official Charlene Lamb testified before Congress that officials in the consulate “were making multiple phone calls and it was very important that they communicate with the annex in Tripoli because this is where additional resources were coming from. So they would hang up on us and then call back.” A Defense Department official confirms that there an unarmed ISR (“intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance”) drone overhead over part of the assault in Benghazi.

Woods also said, “apparently even the State Department had a live stream and was aware of their calls for help. My son wasn’t even there. He was at a safe house about a mile away. He got the distress call; he heard them crying for help; that’s why he and Glen risked their lives to go that extra mile just to take care of the situation. And I’m sure that wasn’t the only one received that distress call—you know, ‘Come save our lives.’”

There was no live fed to the White House. That drone is also part of the Right’s argument – that it was armed and could have been used to help, but Obama personally choose not to use it. That same ABC story quotes a Fox News “reporter” that said her sources on the ground ( again anonymous)” told her “that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to ‘stand down’ rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.” If that were true it would have been help after the attacks and subsequent deaths, and after the compound has already been secured. ” Late Friday afternoon, CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood “no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ” )

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said there are reviews under way and it wasn’t helpful to provide “partial answers.”  However, he did say he was confident that  ”our forces were alert and responsive to what was a very fluid situation.”

The rapid conspiracy theorists have to find a way to tell their version of events and leave out the Department of Defense, the chain of command and the CIA. Additionally these partisans have to explain how things would have been different or the response would have been different if they were in the White House. Would they have been where the buck stops with no accountability on the DoD or CIA. They can talk tough, but where is the substance. 9NEWS questions President Obama on Libya attack

KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.

KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

I linked above to one story that is now a conveniently forgotten shame of the conservative idea of how to carry out national security – Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop. It is also important to remember two recent scandals that the Right tried to exploit for poltical points. They tried to make Solyndra a big scandal and spent millions to find nothing, Five Things You Should Know About Solyndra During The 2012 Campaign. They went on and on about Fast and Furious to bring down Attorney General Holder. The Inspector General found no link between Holder or the White House with Fast and Furious. Just as President Obama said there is an ongoing investigation and more facts are probably going to come out. That doesn’t mean that everyone the Right points a finger at is guilty until they decide otherwise.

And two helpful links. Much of the conservative noise doesn’t work if you know the timeline and who said what and when they said it, Fox News Rewrites Obama Timeline On Libya Terrorism Comments

What Everyone Should Know About The Benghazi Attack

Romney Sincerely Feels His Presidency Would Be Just Like Obama’s, Except It Would Taste Great and Be Less Filling

High Speed Train II  wallpaper


Mitt’s entire debate strategy: What he just said, but from a white guy
— Bill Maher (@billmaher)

Essentially, Romney would do no different but thinks the President’s doing a terrible job. #debate — Joshua Lyman (@joshualyman)

That awkward moment when both presidential candidates realize they don’t disagree on foreign policy enough to debate it. — Aaron Levie (@levie)

Is it sad or a welcome relief amid all the hateful and distorted rhetoric that the comedians had the best take on the last of the presidential debates. With just about every question it was Romney saying yea I agree, but I would put more icing on the cupcakes. Yea, President Obama is doing a good job, but I could outsource our national security to China and get everything done cheaper. These are some of the things Romney, not a comedian actually said,

Romney: We have in — in Egypt, a Muslim Brotherhood president. And so what we’re seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region. Of course the greatest threat of all is Iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. And — and we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on — on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.

But we can’t kill our way out of this mess. We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism, which is — it’s certainly not on the run.

Up until a year ago that not quite robust enough effort was partly led  by some Republican holdovers from the Bush-era, including SecDef Gates. Funny how better executive leadership from Obama, instead of the inept micromanaging of the George Stooge and Dick Stooge made all the difference. Romney wants to bring back the same brain-trust that brought us the Iraq quagmire. “But we can’t kill our way out of this mess” ” sounds like something Senator Obama said to John McCain in 2008. The Muslim brotherhood in Egypt? The Brotherhood is not a monolithic organization – it has some extremists and some moderates. As Donald Rumsfeld once said democracy is messy and when you let a people who had been ruled for years by an authoritarian military, it is going to vote for some people who might have some extreme views. So welcome to Donny Rumsfeld world. Conservatives, and Romney seems to have a particular talent it, like to switch positions depending on shifts in the wind, and then hope that no one in the media acts like a real journalists and calls them out on it. During the Bush administration the Right was constantly blabbing on about how Bush and neoconservatism was spreading democracy and planting the seeds of democracy. The reality based community pointed out that on the contrary the Bush administration was supporting authoritarian regimes that would not allow democratic elections. The very reason was that is was to conservatives, and some Democrats as well, better the authoritarians you know than those you don’t. Well the tides of change went and shifted despite seeds being spread and all. Now that some nascent democracies have started they are going to have some growing pains. Unless Romney and company plans on putting boots on the ground and shoving his idea of democracy down millions of people’s throats, he’ll have to face the same frustrations any president has to face when trying to control events in other countries. At the end of the day President Obama has done a great job. That some of the people we have helped cannot – for now  – get their act together faster is not his fault as much as the conservative blame shifters would like it to be. As I remember there was once a new struggling democracy that took a hundred years to free the slaves, a few more years than that to recognize women as full citizens who should have the right to vote and  used Jim Crow laws to have a de facto separate nation based on race up until 1964 – now what was the name of that country?

ROMNEY: Well, my strategy is pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to — to kill them, to take them out of the picture.

But my strategy is broader than that. That’s — that’s important, of course. But the key that we’re going to have to pursue is a –– is a pathway to get the Muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own.

In future videos demonstrating what it is like to swim in gelatin, they’re be playing that clip. Romney has to some degree been able to outrun his idiocy until this debate. He has been running on economic lies and empty feel good slogans – all the hollow crap that has made much of the American public so cynical about politics. Suddenly in the middle of a presidential debate he decides to recite to the public the rough draft of the children’s book he is writing for the United Nations. Jerry Jihadist was walking  home from school one day and saw the outline of a man bathed in luminous golden light – The Mittens – and on that day he and his fellow radicals decided that having seen the vision of The One, The Mittens, they would all start a new life as leveraged buyout specialists, export their neighbor’s jobs to China and live happily ever after. This is Romney doing his 2008 impression of Senator Obama,

We don’t want another Iraq, we don’t want another Afghanistan. That’s not the right course for us. The right course for us is to make sure that we go after the — the people who are leaders of these various anti-American groups and these — these jihadists, but also help the Muslim world.

And how do we do that? A group of Arab scholars came together, organized by the U.N., to look at how we can help the — the world reject these — these terrorists. And the answer they came up with was this:

One, more economic development. We should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment, and that of our friends, we should coordinate it to make sure that we — we push back and give them more economic development.

Number two, better education.

Number three, gender equality.

So Romney is going to let the sovereign USA be guided in its national security policy by the UN. Why haven’t I seen a single crazed conservative blogger (CCB) start with some paranoid delusions about Romney promoting one world government, answering terrorism with intellectual flower power and showing weakness to our enemies. Romney lost the debate. That is clear enough. Romney has also managed to twist multiple versions of Mitt into so many knots that the maze of his opinions has turned Romney’s brain into an out of control bumper car ride.

ROMNEY: No. I believe, as the president indicated, and said at the time that I supported his — his action there. I felt that — I wish we’d have had a better vision of the future.

In other words if a white conservative had done exactly the same thing we could call it a VISION. That would make it wholesome and good. So vote for Mitt so we can continue the white conservative version of Obama’s policies.

But for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. And that begins with a strong economy here at home. Unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. When the — when the president of Iraq — excuse me, of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.

Vote for Romney because it will make America into a country that Ahmadinejad will like. Why is Mitt apologizing for the USA. Why do conservatives always care so much about what radical Shiite Muslims think. When will Mitt end his constant apologies for America.

One consistent tactic Romney used in every debate was to drag out at least one, frequently more, of the kind of freaky urban myths that is perpetuated by wacky conservative bloggers, Matt Drudge and Glenn Beck. The one that he used last night was the so-called Obama apology tour. Back during the Republican primaries I admit that I gave Romney some credit for not drinking all the kool-aid. As far as wingnuttery goes, the only candidate that outclassed Romney in that regard was John Huntsman. I thought, well maybe, just maybe Romney would be above repeating this cheap trash talk. Nope last night was Romney’s final nail in any doubt that remained, Mitt Romney is a sleazy morally corrupt dipstick just like any other Republican pol.

On the facts. On acting like a gentleman, Obama won the first debate. Since we live in a political climate that rewards flash over substance, the powers that be, including some contrarian liberals gave the win to Romney. Like a good tactician Obama adjusted. He was forceful enough to make Romney overplay the plastic commando act, Obama as Commander-in-Chief, Romney as Banal Bully

I thought the third and last presidential debate was a clear win for the President. He displayed the authority of the nation’s Commander-in-Chief – calm, dignified, and confident. He was assertive without being shrill, clear without being condescending. He explained to a clueless Mitt Romney the way the world actually works.

Romney seemed out of his depth. His arguments were more a series of bromides than positions – “we have to make sure arms don’t get into the wrong hands,” “we want a peaceful planet,” “we need to stand by our principles,” “we need strong allies,” “we need a comprehensive strategy to move the world away from terrorism,” and other banalities.

This has been Romney’s problem all along, of course, but in the first debate he managed to disguise his vacuousness with a surprisingly combative, well-rehearsed performance. By the second debate, the disguise was wearing thin.

In tonight’s debate, Romney seemed to wither — and wander. He often had difficulty distinguishing his approach from the President’s…

Among other things one could chalk the conservative movement up to simple bad melodrama. Though considering their policies actually become injected into real life, with generally disastrous real world consequences, the real believers like Romney always end up champions of banality. It seems that anyone not wearing a tin foil helmet saw much of the same thing, Elitist Airhead For President, Vote Romney

Mitt Romney has nothing really coherent or substantive to say about domestic policy, but at least he can sound energetic and confident about it. On foreign policy, the subject of Monday night’s final presidential debate, he had little coherent to say and often sounded completely lost. That’s because he has no original ideas of substance on most world issues, including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

During the debate, on issue after issue, Mr. Romney sounded as if he had read the boldfaced headings in a briefing book — or a freshman global history textbook — and had not gone much further than that. Twice during the first half-hour, he mentioned that Al Qaeda-affiliated groups were active in northern Mali. Was that in the morning’s briefing book?

At other times, he announced that he had a “strategy” for the Middle East, particularly Iran and Syria, and really for the whole world, but gave no clue what it would be — much like his claim that he has a plan to create 12 million jobs and balance the budget while also cutting taxes, but will not say what it is. At his worst, Mr. Romney sounded like a beauty pageant contestant groping for an answer to the final question. “We want a peaceful planet,” he said. “We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war.”

Romney is by most accounts pretty good with a spreadsheet and understanding the dense language of business transactions. Like many conservatives he ha a skill set. One skill set. Unlike most people who understand that being good at one particular skill – buying companies, gutting them and sending jobs to Asia – that does not translate into governing skills. When Mittens left the governorship of Massachusetts he had a 38% approval rating. Looking back over these three debates it is easy to see why.

Why The Charge That Obama Is ‘Anti-Business’ Is Ridiculous, In Three Charts

Republicans, during the current campaign, have continuously labeled the Obama administration as “anti-business.” “The president and his people just don’t understand how the private sector works,” said Mitt Romney. “Too often, you find yourself facing a government that looks at you like you’re the bad guys.” “This is certainly the most anti-business administration since the Carter years,” added Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “I think he borders on being hostile to the private sector,” said former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).

First, as the New York Times noted, since Obama came into office, “the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 67.9 percent. That’s an extremely strong performance — the fifth best for an equivalent period among all American presidents since 1900?:
Next, the S&P 500, measuring the 500 largest publicly traded companies, is up 80 percent
Finally, corporate profits have soared back beyond their pre-recession heights:
Corporations made a record $824 billion last year. The Obama administration has also cut taxes for small businesses several times, and, of course, presided over a rescue of the auto industry that was almost universally opposed by Republicans. If this is anti-business, it seems that the business world could use more of it.







First Signs of Autumn wallpaper – How Dare America Question Romney’s Version of Reality

First Signs of Autumn wallpaper

Conservatives are very upset today. They upset because Candy Crowley had the unmitigated gall to fact check during the debate and not let Mitt Romney get away with with his latest favorite lie. Transcript Truthers: Conservatives Deny Obama Called Libya Attack An “Act Of Terror”

During tonight’s presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley corrected Mitt Romney’s false claim that President Obama did not refer to the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya as an act of terrorism the day after the attack.

Crowley was right, and Romney was wrong: In his September 12 remarks, the president said: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.” Despite this, conservatives in the media are insisting that Obama never said that.

(Twitter captures at link)

Both Malkin and Hoft linked to a September 30 Commentary blog post by Alana Goodman arguing that “at no point” in Obama’s remarks responding to the Benghazi attack “was it clear that he was using that term to describe the attack in Benghazi.” Instead, argued Goodman, the line might have been “just a generic, reassuring line he’d added into a speech which did take place, after all, the day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.” Even though Obama mentioned the four Americans killed in Benghazi in the very next line.

That makes little sense and is a reed far to thin to stand on. But it’s good enough for Fox News and the conservative blogosphere.


Predictably, Fox News is echoing the misleading defense of Romney. During an interview with Romney surrogate John Sununu, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that when Obama referenced “acts of terror,” he was “talking about September 11, 2001. He doesn’t talk about Benghazi being an act of terror.” Hannity then immediately aired video contradicting his supposed “fact check” of Obama:

Fox News host Bret Baier also tried to discredit the fact that Obama referred to the Benghazi attack as an act of terror. During Fox’s coverage of the debate, Baier claimed that Obama wasn’t “specifically speaking about Benghazi” when he referred to the attack as an act of terror — that he was speaking “generically.”

Baier also faulted Obama for repeatedly referring to an anti-Islam video as a possible catalyst for the attack and for stressing that an investigation was ongoing.

UPDATE 2: Obama also referred to the Benghazi attack as an “act of terror” while campaigning in Colorado on September 13:

Let me say at the outset that obviously our hearts are heavy this week — we had a tough day a couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya.  Yesterday I had a chance to go over to the State Department to talk to friends and colleagues of those who were killed.  And these were Americans who, like so many others, both in uniform and civilians, who serve in difficult and dangerous places all around the world to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans.

And a lot of times their work goes unheralded, doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it is vitally important.  We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices that they make.  And they do an outstanding job every single day without a lot of fanfare.  (Applause.)

So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice.  (Applause.)  I want people around the world to hear me:  To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.  No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

We’ll dealing with conservative reading and listening comprehension disease. Sufferers also tend to have the dreaded exploitation of death for the cause of conservatism at the expense of American ideals, like honor and integrity. If one of these poor creatures should began a illiterate zealot seizure in your presence call you local mental health hot line. It’s odd how conservatives consign blame. On first look it might seem that there is nothing logical or systematic about their thought processes, but there is a method to the idiocy. Bush was not to blame for 9-11. Conservatives are not to blame for losing Bin laden at Tora Bora. Conservatives are not to blame for sending Americans off to die in a ridiculous and immoral war in Iraq. Conservatives are not to blame for the record number of terrorist attacks that occurred under Bush. President Obama is somehow directly responsible for one terrorist attack. President Obama does not deserve any of the credit for killing Bin laden, toppling  Moammar Gaddafi or the dozens of other terrorists during his presidency. The Conservative Accountability and hate Candy Crowley Club should be thank full Crowley did not bring up the video at this link, Romney Warned Against Pointing Fingers At Bush Administration After 9/11 Attacks

During a 2004 National Press Club luncheon, Romney was asked to address the 9/11 Commission’s finding of serious intelligence failures on the part of the US government in the run-up to the attacks. He responded that it is easy, but ultimately not particularly helpful, to blame different parts of the government for the attack:

It’s very easy, it is extraordinarily easy to point fingers and say, ‘Why, this part of government knew this and it didn’t tell that part.’ And, ‘These people here haven’t learned that.’ Well, the reason those barriers exist is for legitimate purpose in a world that was pre-September 11th. And judging our intelligence by post- September 11th conditions is something we have to do carefully. We do that to help us get better, and to the extent we find criticism in the kind of work that I’ve had to do and others are doing, it should be focused on how we can make ourselves more effective in the post-9/11 world. But trying to judge what happened pre-9/11 by post-9/11 knowledge is probably not terribly fruitful.

Watch it:

Romney’s approach was consistent with then-President Bush’s, who when asked whether he should apologize for his administration’s failure to prevent 9/11, said simply “The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden.” Former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told the 9/11 Commission something similar, saying “I know that there was no single thing that might have prevented that attack…I believe that the absence of light, so to speak, on what was going on inside the country, the inability to connect the dots, was really structural.”

In the case of Bush and Rice we know that they were warned of an imminent attack in the infamous PDB. They also knew that they were shoving a pack of lies down America’s throat when it knew that Iraq had no WMD, no connection to 9-11 and no connections to Bin Laden. Let’s say the conservative movement ran on the honor system of an old 18th century boys boarding school. A few million conservatives should be flogging themselves right now. In order to be the party of values one has to have some foundation of accountability and fidelity to the truth.

And another jaw dropping trait of conservatism: they like to have everything both ways. President Obama cannot act fast enough to kill terrorists, but if he does he will be doing so for purely partisan political reasons, Fox & Friends Pushes Theory That Obama May Order Strike In Libya To Gain Advantage In Upcoming Debate . If Obama does not take action according to the conservative stop watch, he loses. If Obama takes action, he loses. Reason 76 not to be a conservative: think of the headaches trying to keep track of the inherent contradictions of everything you stand for.

I’ve called the world of conservatism Bizarro World. The lies, the creation of a reality that bares no resemblance to the real world, the nonexistent lines conservatives draw ( 9-11 happened because of the women’s rights movements, 9-11 happened because America lost its faith in God). The unrelenting fabrication of causes and effects in the economy. The never ending their blame shifting ( somehow Fannie May caused the recession, not Wall Street) and the proto-facist eliminationism, all are facets of BizarroWorld. Mitt Romney is certainly no exception. Romney Told 31 Myths In 41 Minutes. Much like conservative hate pundits on AM radio, Fox News, The Washington Free Beacon, multiple websites, politicians like Chris Christie(R-NJ) and Paul Ryan(R-WI); the propaganda is propelled, as it was in last night’s debate with supreme arrogance. Their attitude, which is part of the reaction to Crowley’s fact check, is how dare anyone questions our fun house mirror version of reality. They make up what is real and what is not dammit and they will truck no dissent from the reality they are supremely entitled to invent. I’m Mitt Dammit Romney, when I claim something is true, that makes it true.

Mitt Romney’s binders full of women just don’t stack up

In the second presidential debate, women’s issues finally came up. And Mitt Romney had an opportunity to show female voters he cared. But from his bullying of moderator Candy Crowley to his dismissive description of his hiring practices, he fumbled the chance. “Binders full of women,” his badly chosen phrase became the meme of the night and will likely haunt him past Halloween. Here’s a deconstruction of what he had to say about women.

An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

Seemed to be? Implausible from the start, they either were or they weren’t.

And I – and I went to my staff, and I said, “How come all the people for these jobs are – are all men.” They said: “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.”

This is hard to believe. Romney was talking about 2003 – not 1893. Plenty of women would have been properly qualified.

And I said: “Well, gosh, can’t we – can’t we find some – some women that are also qualified?”


And – and so we – we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said: “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.

ZING! There was the shot through his foot. “Binders full of women” became #bindersfullofwomen on Twitter, a Tumblr page and a Facebook page which within half an hour had over 20,000 likes. By the end of the debate that had risen to almost 70,000. Why did the phrase resonate? Because it was tone deaf, condescending and out of touch with the actual economic issues that women are so bothered about. The phrase objectified and dehumanized women. It played right into the perception that so many women have feared about a Romney administration – that a president Romney would be sexist and set women back

That Tumblr page is funny. Someone on Twitter said it went up within hours of the debate. They did a terrific job.

President Obama Closing Statement